New MIT Museum glimpses the future and examines school’s past

By Malcolm Gay

A kinetic sculpture that unspools over the lifespan of the universe, which is to say, very slowly. Scientific “proof” that mermaids are real. A chance to write poetry with the help of a robot, orview a version of counterfactual history: a televised speech President Nixon prepared, but never had to make, informing the country that the Apollo 11 mission had ended in disaster.

These are just a few of the provocative concepts and objects on view at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s new MIT Museum, a purpose-built exhibition and gathering space in the heart of Kendall Square. The new museum, which seeks to demystify some of the school’s opaque inner workings, makes itself broadly approachable with expanded gallery space, forum areas, learning labs, and a maker hub where visitors can work on museum-led projects. It opens to the general public on Sunday.

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